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Trends Microbiol. 2005 Dec;13(12):569-74. Epub 2005 Oct 19.

Towards a comprehensive view of the bacterial cell wall.

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N.F. Gamaleya Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Gamaleya str. 18, Moscow 123098, Russia.


Direct in vivo visualization, in full atomic detail, of the microbial cell wall and its stress-bearing structural architecture remains one of the prime challenges in microbiology. In the meantime, molecular modeling can provide a framework for explaining and predicting mechanisms involved in morphogenesis, bacterial cell growth and cell division, during which the wall and its major structural component--murein--have to protect the cell from osmotic pressure and multiple tensile forces. Here, we illustrate why the scaffold concept of murein architecture provides a more comprehensive representation of bacterial cell wall physiology than previous models.

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